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Kayak was my favourite airfare consolidation site (a place where you can find low fares on multiple variables on multiple airlines) -- sadly, this week, I got an e-mail from American Airlines which read:
From: American Airlines [mailto:americanairlines@email.aa.com]
Sent: 04 August 2008 21:02
To: chazantonelli@gmail.com
Subject: American Airlines Ends Relationship With Kayak

Dear Charles Antonelli,

As a valued customer who has booked an American Airlines ticket through Kayak.com or Sidestep.com over the past year, we would like to inform you that American Airlines fares are no longer being displayed on these sites. You may still find our content through many other meta-search engines for purchase through our award-winning web site, AA.com. Tickets already purchased remain valid for customers traveling on American.

At American Airlines, we are committed to saving you time and money by making AA.com your one-stop shop for finding the best fares. In addition to our Lowest Fare Guarantee, you have the ability to search for the lowest available price for three days before and three days after your original departure and return dates. So, when booking your next trip, be sure to visit AA.com.

And, as a special incentive, if you book your next flight on AA.com and travel by December 31, 2008, you'll receive 1,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles.

Thanks for choosing American Airlines. We look forward to seeing you on board soon.

On the Kayak site, in their blog, it reads:
This morning, Kayak.com became a bit less comprehensive as fares from American Airlines are no longer available on our website. American asked us to suppress search results from online travel agency partners as a condition to displaying their fares on Kayak.com and SideStep.com. We remain committed to providing a comprehensive and objective display to our users.

Therefore, Kayak.com and SideStep.com are displaying schedules only (not prices) for American Airlines flights. Consumers are still able to compare AA itineraries along with those from hundreds of leading airlines, and if they wish to find the price or purchase an AA ticket, they can still do so by clicking on the “Info” link and we’ll send them into the Orbitz booking path. We think this is a step backwards for consumers and we hope American changes its mind.

As American Airlines is (er, well, was) my preferred airline, it really hurts me not to be able to compare fares side-by-side on the website I've come to love -- especially their agents (e-mailing bots that watch specific fares for you).

Although I am exempt from American's new checked baggage fees, there's all sorts of talk I'm hearing about them raising the cost of flights and upgrades using miles, serious reductions in service levels, reductions in available flights, reductions in business and first class seating -- plus to top it all off, fees and add-ons that make it virtually impossible to determine the actual cost of a ticket until you're just about to commit your purchase! Sort of like how Air Canada used to advertise their fares without taxes and fees until the last screen!, except now it's a shock once you're at the airport to check in, or on the plane wanting a glass of water. Rumour control says American Airlines is adding pay toilets in 2009!!

While at the same time, while at the same time the article "Emirate's Super-Luxe Airbus A380 Makes Flying Fun Again." appeared in Wired! magazine!

Maybe it's time to cash in on those frequent flyer miles (while they still have value!) Until then, my primary airfare consolidation site is now Airfare Watchdog:


Happy flying!




Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
mc4bbs
Aug. 7th, 2008 12:52 pm (UTC)
Now what!?!?! A $350 upgrade fee!!!!
Outrageous!!! I think I will use my AA miles on their partner airlines in the "One World Alliance" programme for my UK flights!! Fuck! I love the way the letter is worded to sound like this is a good thing; however, read the fine print!

Dear Charles Antonelli,

Did you realize that your AAdvantage® miles could move you into Business or First class on your next trip on American Airlines*? That's right - AAdvantage members traveling on most purchased fare tickets have the ability to use miles or miles plus a co-payment to upgrade to the next cabin of service.

You can request a mileage award upgrade when you purchase your ticket or alternatively, at anytime up until 2 hours prior to departure. If an upgrade is not available when you request it, we will add you to our upgrade waitlist and you will be automatically confirmed when an upgrade award becomes available**.

Members purchasing full Economy fares (booked in Y or B) may use as little as 5,000 miles each way to upgrade on domestic itineraries and as little as 8,000 miles each way to upgrade on international itineraries.

Effective October 1, 2008, Upgrade awards from most Discount Economy fares will change as follows:

Upgrade within the continental U.S. and Canada, within and between the continental U.S. / Canada / Mexico / The Caribbean or between North America and Central America will require 15,000 miles plus a $50 co-payment.

Upgrade between North America and Europe, Japan, China, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile or Uruguay will require 25,000 plus a $350 co-payment

Upgrade between North America and India will require 40,000 miles plus a $350 co-payment

The current award structure will apply to members who request upgrade awards prior to October 1. For complete information regarding award changes, visit www.aacom/awardchanges.

Make the most of your AAdvantage miles and treat yourself to an upgrade on your next trip. We hope to see you on board soon!

Sincerely,

Rob Friedman
President
AAdvantage Marketing Programs

Terms and Conditions:

Mileage Award Upgrades are capacity controlled and seats may not be available on all flights. Upgrade co-payment is non-refundable. Standard AAdvantage Award terms and conditions apply and are available at www.aa.com/aadvantage.

*Valid on American Airlines marketed and operated flights.
**Waitlist clearance may occur up until 6 hours prior to departure. Miles are deducted and co-payment, when applicable, will be charged once the upgrade is confirmed.
Delta is looking better and better!!

There's a $450/year membership fee for mysterious all-black American Express card called the "Delta Reserve", but it offers a lot:

On behalf of Delta Air Lines and American Express, we would like to thank you for your loyalty and recognize you as one of our most valued Cardmembers. That is why we are extending a special invitation to our newest Card yet—Delta Reserve from American Express. It's noticeably different! In creating Delta Reserve, we kept your high standards in mind and went well beyond them. Delta Reserve provides an unparalleled combination of SkyMiles and American Express benefits to ensure your travel experience is noticeably better.

- Earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after your first purchase
- Receive complimentary Crown Room Club® access for you and two guests
- Earn Built-in Miles BoostsSM—up to 30,000 MQMs and 30,000 bonus miles
- Gift earned MQMs to friends and family, helping them reach elite status
- Pay with Miles—Redeem for any Delta seat, anytime
- Receive a free* annual domestic companion certificate for First Class or Coach Class
- Gain access to Concierge services


Plus, I've seen all sorts of AMAZING offers in my e-mail from Delta lately, including 9,999 points for renting a car at Avis and a 5,000 point bonus when you use their "pay with points" scheme.

Now all they need to do is 'lure' me away from American Airlines, where I have over 100k, and growing all the time.
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